Easterbrook turns to the novel again (This Magic Moment, not reviewed) after some serious nonfiction (Beside Still Waters, 1998, etc.) and does quite well: involuntary time-travel to his better past self nearly queers a very big deal for a hotshot lawyer.
Jaded and deeply unhappy attorney Carter Morris, whose ridiculous but apparently legal solution to the problems of the fashion chain Value Neutral is about to rain big-big money on himself and the openly amoral law firm in which he is a partner, has begun to scare the daylights out of his colleagues. At a succession of critical moments leading to the consummation of the super settlement, Carter keeps vanishing. Literally. Negotiations with Value Neutral have taken him to the city and scene of his youthful triumphs as a Galahad in the 1960s peace movement, and he keeps bumping into himself—as a young man. In very confused pre-incarnations, he’s continually popping back to particular Carters, beginning with the sweaty, baseball-playing prepubescent Carter and working his way through to the Carter of the great moment when he saved a huge rally from governmental interference, met Walter Cronkite, and possibly set a real-life future senator on his political path. To greatly complicate things, the land of his past, unlike Narnia, does not return him to the present with only a few minutes gone missing. Instead, he’s returned a very inconvenient one or two days late from wherever he was supposed to be, usually a vital meeting. Fortunately, each absence, however much it may enrage his partners, seems to make an admiring Value Neutral voluntarily cough up ever more millions. The retro-trips become increasingly poignant as Carter reviews failed relationships with his childhood pal, his brother, and Jayne Ann, the lost love of his life. Will he reclaim his ideals? Will he patch things up with everybody, including himself? Will he keep the money?
Sort of a men’s weeper, but funny, sexy, and thoughtful.